Diversity within Hindusim

Philosophical Systems 

In classical Hinduism, there are six Darshanas or systems of Hindu philosophy, each of which focuses upon particular aspects of knowledge. These are the: 

Mimamsa, which focuses upon action with responsibility :

  • Nyaya, which focuses upon logic 
  • Vaisheshika, which is concerned with analysing matter and its structure 
  • Samkhya, which is concerned with how matter functions 
  • Yoga, which offers training for the body and the mind 
  • Vedanta, which is concerned with ultimate reality and spiritual knowledge 
  • The Vedanta, literally meaning "the conclusion of all knowledge", is the most predominant among contemporary Hindus. It is, however, found in two main forms - the dvaita (dualist) and the advaita (monist). 
  • Dvaita is a monotheistic understanding of the nature of the divine, seen in terms of an unlimited supreme personality, in which the divine and the human soul are seen as distinct even though they might enter into union. 
  • Advaita is a monistic understanding in which there is no ultimate difference between the divine, understood as Brahman, and the human soul. Realisation of the identity between God and the soul that brings about liberation. Brahman is seen to have been manifested in many different times and places. 

Among its various schools of thought, the Vedanta encompasses a range of emphases, including: 

  • Advaita Vedanta 
  • Vishishta-Advaita 
  • Navya Vishishta-Advaita 
  • Shuddha-Dvaita 
  • Dvaita-Advaita 
  • Shuddha-Advaita 
  • Achintya-Bhedha-Abheda 
  • Shaiva Siddhanta



In devotional practice, Hindus focus upon ishta-devata, their chosen deity. This focus of devotion is often associated with a particular sampradaya or movement. 

Vaishnavas worship Vishnu in terms of the Dvaita understanding 

Shaivas worship Shiva 

  • Shaktas worship Shakti or Durga/Parvati/the Goddess 
  • Swaminaryans build upon the teaching of Sahajananda Swami 
  • Pushtimargis follow the teachings of Vallabha and worship Krishna 
  • Krishna Consciousness follows the teachings of A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada 
  • Arya Samajis devotees follow the teachings of Swami Dayananda Saraswati 

There are many other groups and movements which have been informed by Hindu philosophy and practice, such as the Divine Life Society and the Transcendental Meditation movement.

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